Mark Tumilty says his Banbridge side have their ‘destiny in our own hands’ as they compete in the EuroHockey Club Championships this weekend.
Banbridge Hockey Club travel to Scotland this weekend, where they will attempt to book a place in the European Hockey League next season, by winning the championship, which will be held from Friday May 13 - Monday May 16 at the National Hockey Centre in Glasgow Green.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Tumilty commented, when asked about the tournament.
“The fact is, getting to the European Hockey League will be in our own hands if we’re successful.
“Ireland could have two teams in the EHL next season, which would be fantastic,” he said.
“It won’t be easy, but we’ll probably go in as number one seeds. We’ll be missing a few players through exams or injury, that’s what you get at this time of year, but I believe we have enough strength in depth to get to the final.”
Bann will face a tough schedule, with four games in four days, whilst they face something of an unknown with regards to their Pool A opponents, HC Minsk from Belarus, Kelburne HC from Scotland and Swiss side HC Rotweiss Wettingen.
“With the Belarus you don’t know what to expect, they play after us on Friday evening, so I will stay and watch that to give us an indication of what to expect.
“Kelburne at home will be tough, they’ve had an excellent season in Scotland, and Wettingen are a team we haven’t played, but I have seen them, they played in the cup last year and qualified in a tough game. They are a young side, it will be a tough opener.
“I believe we have enough quality to win. We’ll have four games in four days, which is a big ask. A win in the first game is key,” Tumily added.
“It’s the first time we’ve gone into a competition with Europe in our own hands. If we can win it, Garvey would go into the last 16 and we’d go into the league format,” the coach said.
Banbridge will be hoping to make up for the disappointment of the league season, as well as the Champions Trophy defeat, by winning the EuroHockey Club Championships, and booking their place in the European Hockey League.
“It’s been a strange season,” Tumilty said. “There’s been only a few occasions where we’ve played to the level we’re capable of.
“It will be good to get the group away, get playing some competitive hockey and have something to play for; something to focus on.
“It would be great to come home knowing we’ll play European hockey next season.
“It would be a real boost and could help attract new players for next season having European hockey. There’s a lot riding on these four days.
“I’m looking forward to it,” the coach added. “There’s a good support going as always.
“Hopefully we’ll get to that final on Monday.
“For some players this is the highest level of hockey they might get to play at. As a group they are looking forward to it.
“Their own destiny is in their own hands,” Tumilty stated.
“I would love to see how this group could perform in Europe,” the coach added. “It would be a massive boost to the club and to the players.”
Banbridge begin their EuroHockey Club Championship against HC Rotweiss Wettingen at 3.30pm on Friday.